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Ozersk is a hidden city within the vast forests of Russia’s Ural Mountains. For decades it was kept a secret and its citizens were cut off from the rest of the world. While we now know of its existence, it’s still heavily guarded and fenced-in with barbed wire, with no foreigners or visitors allowed to enter without permission from Russia’s secret police. However, not many people do want to visit– Ozersk, also called City 40, is one of the most radioactively polluted places on the planet.
The city has perfect tree-lined streets, big buildings, spacious apartments and businesses, but food has to be checked for radiation and it’s surrounded by two of the most polluted lakes in the world. One is even called Plutonium Lake, while the other, Lake Karachay, is now a bed of radioactive dust. It’s all because of the Mayak nuclear power plant and the Kyshtym disaster– the third largest nuclear disaster in the world that rivaled the damage done by Chernobyl.
So why then is the city still home to over 100,000 citizens? They are afforded luxury here that they can’t get elsewhere, and their loved ones are buried in Ozersk’s cemetery. It’s enough to convince them that living in “the graveyard of the Earth” is worth it. Today, Mayak still produces nuclear components and Russia stores it’s multi-billion dollar stockpile of nuclear weapons near the city– hence all the armed guards and security cameras. So, hit play, and let’s explore Russia’s secret nuclear city.
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Written by: Courtney Hayes
Narrated by: Craig Freeman
Animated by: Yaser Rabani
Edited by: AJ Varela
For copyright matters please contact us at: [email protected]
00:44 A picturesque city with a secret
03:22 Lake Karachay– the most polluted place on earth
04:33 Mayak nuclear plant”